Sports Perspective: Borrow a leaf from Surestream
It is sad that Surestream Petroleum has decided to close its football academy in Chilomoni Township in Blantyre because of unrelated football issues.
It is a fact that through the project, which was implemented four years ago, there were signs that Malawi football was heading for greater heights, and it was becoming a solid foundation of our football.
The academy became a darling of Malawi football for the years it was in the trenches under the guidance of its then technical director, Peter Mponda. The man hates mediocrity in as far as football is concerned.
For the first time, it was interesting to watch youngsters playing quick inter-passing and free-flowing game. The academy has produced promising youngsters such as Mike Mkwate, Brightone Munthali, Isaac Mwale and Ernest Tambe just to mention a few.
It is a fact that you cannot develop football if you overlook the grassroots, and Surestream was in the process of showing us the ropes. Unfortunately, Malawi football cannot force Surestream to rescind its decision. You never cry over split milk.
It is sad that Surestream decided to terminate the marriage with Malawi football at a time when the nation desperately needed their services. It would take time to forget their class in as far as football in concerned.
Malawi, as a nation, we are so desperate to make an impression on the international stage using short cuts. Desperate people would foolishly want to walk before they crawl. Unfortunately, short cuts do not work in football. One just needs to develop it from the grassroots.
Coincidentally, Surestream has pulled out at a time Football Association of Malawi is appealing for funds for the Under -17 and 20 to participate in Africa Nations Cup qualifiers.
Realising the importance of youth football, Caf has set it as mandatory that each country should participate in these junior tournaments.
Surprisingly, there are some elements in government hierarchy who have never appreciated the importance of developing sports at grassroots—all they know is lip service.
They need to borrow a leaf from Surestream’s way of thinking. West Africans football has developed tremendously because of football academies.
It is unlike in Malawi where we engage services of mediocre technical panel to coach youngsters, and expect them to develop into reliable players.
We should know that the future of our football lies in the youth, otherwise Malawi football will die a slow and painful death.
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